Dörverden-Westen St Annen
St Annen-Kirche is located in Dörverden-Westen, a village in Niedersachsen. It is situated on the southern shore of the river Aller.
* denotes external links that open in a new window
Visiting Dörverden-Westen St Annen
The church of St Annen in Dörverden-Westen is certainly the most beautifully situated Round Tower Church in Germany. The striking tower rises high above the River Aller and the surrounding fields. The Aller Cycle Path runs along the church, and below the church Germany’s second smallest ferry has connected the two villages of Westen and Otersen since the 16th century. Today it is solar-powered and operates in summer for pedestrians and cyclists.
The church has the sign of a “reliably open church” on one of its doors, but unfortunately this did not apply during the Corona pandemic, because we found the “reliably open” church locked. Fortunately, the phone number of the priest was listed in a showcase at the church, and when I called her, she immediately agreed to open the church for us, so that we could also take photographs of the interior on our own.
It is a brick church with Romanesque, Gothic and late 18th century elements. The tower was built in the mid-13th century, making it one of the oldest surviving parts of the church. Originally, it was a defence or watchtower that served to collect taxes from shipping on the Aller.
A small nave was added late in the 13th century. On the north side next to the tower, a portal of the Romanesque church, which was later walled up, has been preserved. In the course of the 14th century, the nave was remodelled in Gothic style. The wider polygonal choir was added between 1780 and 1786. In the process, the church hall as a whole received a vault. The spire was renewed in the 1960s. On the foundation blocks of the tower you can see (if you look closely also on one of the photos) furrows across the whole width of the tower. This is probably where people used to sharpen their axes and knives, as this was the only sandstone in the area. The holes, which are still clearly visible today, are from the scaffolding that was and is necessary for works on the tower.
Inside the church, the first things catching the eye are the galleries: the west gallery with the organ from 1870, which continues along the north and south walls towards the chancel. If you turn left, you reach the ground floor of the tower through a door in the west wall, which today houses a “Room of Silence”.
The main attraction of the church, however, is certainly the pulpit altar from 1785 in the choir: as an expression of the connection between sermon and sacrament, the pulpit and altar were united in the time of the Old Lutheran Orthodoxy to form the so-called “pulpit altar”. The pulpit is still used for preaching today. The “all-seeing eye” is depicted above the pulpit. During communion, people received the wafers while kneeling on the left side. Afterwards they went around through the arches behind the altar and received the chalice kneeling on the other side. The reredos shows the Last Supper of Jesus.
The two angel putti in the choir, which probably also date from 1785, now decorate the modern baptismal font from 1963.